Dean Josephine B. Meredith's Report "Women at Dickinson College", circa 1935
During her time as the Dean of Women at Dickinson College, Dean Josephine Meredith wrote a report entitled "Women at Dickinson College." Dean Meredith, an early female graduate of Dickinson College (class of 1901), utilized both her experiences as a female student and the Dean of Women to compile a report on the conditions for and experiences of female students. Thus, in 18 sections, she highlights living conditions, extracurricular life, social life, religious life, and academic life at the College.
New Fad Sweeping the Nation
An issue of the Free Dickinsonian called for the college administration to tear down East College, or "Old East;" to require resident students, including women, to eat in the cafeteria; and to create a smoker's lounge. According to the Free Dickinsonian, there was a "new fad" during the 1940s: female smokers. Other colleges, like Williams College and Penn Hall School, had recognized this "new fad." The Free Dickinsonian argued that, in the next decade, the college should install a smoking lounge in Metzger Hall for the co-ed students.
Distributed to faculty and trustees on December 15, 1945, "Suggestions Considered Requisite by the Students of Dickinson College for the Improvement of the College" calls for the appointment of a new dean of women. The document cites the numerous occasions on which the dean "defamed the character of the women students" by ridiculing them and calling into question their moral judgement.
Female student "didn't care for the steak"
While interviewee Mary Synder Hertzler did not mind the quality of the food at Dickinson's dining hall during the World War II period, not every student agreed with her. Other students "objected" to the food, and one female student took her steak and put it on a spindle on Dean Josephine Brunyate Meredith's desk. Hertzler claims that she "would have no more done that than fly to the moon." This student "evidently didn't care for the steak."
Christine Crist leads the 1945 "Student Rebellion"
In an interview, Christine Crist (Class of 1946) recalls the "big revolution" the students organized in December 1945. Although Dean Josephine Meredith had appointed Crist as a student government representative when she arrived on campus, Crist eventually became dissatisfied with the rules that the Dean of Women imposed on the female students and the "ridiculous authoritarianism that crept in" to the administration.
Dean Meredith kept heavy hand on female student behavior...
Christine Crist (Class of 1946) describes the heavy-handedness of Dean Josephine Brunyate Meredith when the cadets arrived on campus. Although Crist remembers a date with a cadet from Texas, she says that the dean did not tolerate such fraternizing. The female students received an earlier curfew when the cadets arrived.